Fighting organised crime ‘holds no borders’, Abela tells EU police officers

Home affair minister Carmelo Abela addresses Euromed Police IV, emphasises importance of sharing of information between Mediterranean countries

Home affairs minister Carmelo Abela said this morning that in order for nations to better combat terrorism and organised crime, they must learn how to coordinate their efforts better, especially when it comes to the sharing of intelligence.

“Each country must have its own plans for dealing with its own security. However, over and above those plans, we need to ensure that cross-border cooperation between countries is enhanced,” he said.  

Abela was addressing the first Euromed Police IV high-level meeting currently being held at the old University in Valletta. The summit will last for two days.

He stressed that “the threats to security” were no longer limited by borders, especially when one considers criminals’ “exploitation of IT systems” and cybercrime on the whole. This, he said, made cross-border cooperation all the more necessary.

The Euromed Police project brings together nations from around the Mediterranean – including a number of North African states – together, in order to discuss issues of security and is implemented by a consortium led by Civipol in close cooperation with Europol, Cepol and Interpol.

Abela said that meetings, such as this morning’s, are essential for laying the groundwork for future work.

He underscored Malta’s interest in security in the region. “Being an island in the Mediterranean, everything that happens in the region is of significance to us,” he said.

Abela said that Malta would be placing safety and security very high on its agenda of the Maltese presidency of the Council of Europe and will be pushing for greater sharing of information between member states, particularly the police force in each state. Specifically, he said that the disruption of human trafficking networks and addressing cybercrime would be two priorities during this period.

The minister acknowledged that there is already a great deal of cooperation, however he stressed that for there to be more effective “multi-level” cooperation, “more of an effort” is required.

“Euromed provides the necessary opportunity to strengthen cooperation with the aim of acting in unison towards a common goal: ensuring security of citizens by fighting crime together,” he said. 

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